The onset of lockdown across the UK in March of this year meant that churches had to work quickly and creatively to find ways to remain connected during this season when congregations have not been able to physically meet together.
Many churches began to record their services and broadcast them using platforms such as YouTube, FaceBook and Church Online (churchonlineplatform.com) as well as connecting via Zoom and other video conferencing facilities. An unexpected outcome has been that a number of churches have found that people who would not normally visit their services in person, were logging on to watch services and that attendance had actually risen during the Covid pandemic.
Live streaming of church services used to be the preserve of the larger, well known churches, but as a result of the success of recorded services, many smaller churches are seriously beginning to explore the possibility of live streaming their services once congregations are able to start meeting together, in order to reach people who are exploring Christianity but don’t feel ready to visit a church in person.
Although it is possible to record and upload services via a smart phone, this may not be the long-term answer if churches want to produce live streamed material that is of a consistently good quality. Church Growth Trust recently spoke to Steve Ashley of SA Sound Services (www.sa-sound.co.uk) who has been advising churches on audio visual fixed installations for many years and as a result of the recent Covid crisis, has been receiving many requests for help and advice regarding fixed installations for live streaming church services and events.
Steve recommended that churches consider investing in the following:
- Two wall mounted PTZ cameras (such as the Sony wall mounted camera – SRG-300H Sony Wall mounted camera)
- Camera controller remote control panel for up to seven installed cameras (such as the RM-IP10 Sony Camera Controller – Sony Camera Controller RM-IP10)
- Streaming mixer (for example the Roland VR1-HD Roland VR1-HD) for words, and power point graphics with a USB output for connection to a streaming computer to upload to a streaming platform such as YouTube or FaceBook.
The approximate cost for purchase and professional installation of an entry level streaming system such as this is around £8,000 and although this may be a significant financial investment, churches who are exploring the possibility of regularly broadcasting their services via one of the online platforms may wish to investigate this further.